Electric energy

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Re: Electric energy

Post by raidho36 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:52 am

Each fission reaction only produces a small handful of neutrons and most of them just fly out of fuel rod, it's important that at least one on average sets off another fissure, otherwise the reaction halts. The fission products "dampen" reaction because being nuclei they still consume neutrons, but contribute nothing to the reaction - because low atomic number, one neutron can't sway it out of stability and nothing happens, but the neutron is gone. Also because of low atomic number it can't be made to fissure. But after building up substantial number of neutrons it will decay, likely increasing atomic number but without releasing amounts of energy comparable to normal nuclear fuel fission. To become nuclear fuel again through beta decay, the particle will have to consume hundreds of neutrons on average, in practice this rarely happen and most of material is non-radioactive. But because fission products nuclear mass and neutron absorption is random, some nucleus will beta-decay upwards high enough to become radioactive, and some fission products are heavy enough to be radioactive to begin with, so nuclear waste will contain radioactive material and not just random mash of low atomic number non-radioactive matter. Note that even if it's not radioactive, it's still poisonous - many elements are, and there are many elements in the waste. And then some chemical reactions may occur in the waste, too. That's what makes it dangerous - it's both radioactive and poisonous, and there's no easy way to separate elements because there's so many of them, normal chemical reagents only have a handful, not dozens and possibly hundreds. Just to be clear, I'm referring to 100% waste, not spent fuel rods.

My point is, as you use up fuel, the unusable waste should build up. The mash of random elements that's radioactive and can't be really used as fuel nor anything else. For game's sake you can go without waste altogether, but it was in original suggestion that waste becomes fuel, rather than fuel remains are extracted from waste which then remains permanently, and so I argued.
Last edited by raidho36 on Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Enkal » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:03 pm

raidho36 wrote:Eh I guess I was putting it too simply.

Usefulness of nuclear fuel is its ability to produce heat, minus how much effort it takes to get it to produce heat. When fission fuel undergoes chain reaction, it eventually degenerates into the sort of fuel that's not usable. That's because in fission, nuclear number (type of element) can only go down but not up (that would be fusion), and every particle of the fuel rod will progress towards the point where it becomes the element that can't be used as fuel, and at that point the particle becomes waste. So inevitably, you're winding up with 100% of fuel becoming nuclear waste. The "reuse" process you describe is actually salvaging whatever little useful material left in fuel rods to use in making new rods, it's not the same as using waste material to produce new fuel rods. So in the chain you described, the recipe that recycles spent rods must produce 1x raw uranium and 9x nuclear waste material. I guess you put it in barrels and just having it around produces pollution constantly, and I guess there could be special "crates" (underground storages) that minimize pollution from nuclear waste.
Actually, in a regular light water reactor you do breed and use Plutonium (going up in nuclear number). They have a breeder factor of about 0.6 meaning that they produce 60 % of their fuel by raising the atomic number.

Breeder reactors, ie. breeder factor over 1, can use about 98% of all the fuel put in by breeding fertile material (U238 or Th235(iirc)) into Pu239 or U233 that are fissile. The very small amount of waste you get from this will be gone in about 300 years.

In general the amount of nuclear waste (spent fuel) you get from light water reactors is incredibly small and very easy and safe to store in water pools for decades or more. Hence the pollution of nuclear is very very low. From a breeder reactor you get about 1-2 % of that already small amount as waste.

For gameplay terms I guess that nuclear would be just over powered. One 3x3 tile reactor would give at least 250 MW in case of a molten salt reactor (MSR), make no pollution and zero waste (considering that nothing else leaves waste in the game). The mods that use cooling towers etc are just not realistic. You might need a cooling tower for a 1 GW+ reactor but it depends on the temperature of the input water I think.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by raidho36 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:14 pm

Breeder only produces less waste if you count U-238 as waste. It isn't a fission fuel, but in a breeder reactor it can be made to absorb a neutron and beta-decay into plutonium, which is a fuel, with about the same energy content as enriched uranium. However each particle of nuclear fuel that undergoes fission becomes two particles of nuclear waste. If you somehow use up 100% of nuclear fuel in a rod, you'll get a rod that's 100% nuclear waste, no matter what kind of reactor you used.

Also I think the reactor should be producing hot water rather than electricity directly.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by curtosis » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:10 pm

zebediah49 wrote: That is... not how current nuclear tech works. A standard real-world light water reactor burns a fairly small fraction of its input fuel (something like 80%); the remaining is either reprocessed or discarded. Note that that's only the U-235 that's used; ~95% of the total material is U-238 that is much harder to use (you need a special kind of reactor design to use it, which I believe is what the higher tier research would be). For a real-world example, the CANDU reactor design is nominally capable of directly accepting and burning used fuel from light-water reactors.
It's way, way lower than that. "High-burnup" research fast reactors can only get to somewhere around 20%.

The limiting condition for most fuel/reactor designs is the buildup of fission products (Xenon-135 being the most well-known, though short-lived example) that act as neutron poisons (as linked to elsewhere in this thread) and slow the reaction down. Typical reactors include burnable poisons that get less absorptive over time; as fission products build up the overall reactivity remains relatively constant.

It seems you could get to maybe 5-10%[*] burnup in a typical LWR (light-water reactor = standard power reactor technology) before you have to refuel. The spent fuel can then be either stored or reprocessed to remove the detrimental fission products and produce "new" fuel, consisting of a substantial proportion of Plutonium as well as Uranium. Reprocessing into new fuel rods is also really icky chemically and mostly not economical at current Uranium prices, but it might be an interesting mechanic to include.

[*]It's way more complicated than a simple percentage, but it's close enough for Factorio purposes.
zebediah49 wrote:So, to give a reasonably real-world compatible reaction set:

Preparation: 10x raw uranium -> 9x depleted uranium + 1x fissile fuel
Power generation: 1x fissile fuel --> 1x spent fuel
Reprocessing: 1x spent fuel -> 1x raw uranium

10% is pretty lame by Factorio standards, but it's far from completely used up.

The real tech advance would be to use a fancier reactor design, because then you can use up everything -- raw uranium, depleted uranium, spent fuel, whatever.
10% efficiency on the enrichment side is in the ballpark (real-world ~4%). The interesting mechanic from a Factorio perspective, though, is that enrichment is MASSIVELY power-intensive and would serve as a useful balancing mechanism. For a typical plant of 1500MWe, you need ~25t of enriched Uranium, derived from ~200t of natural Uranium, at a total energy cost of around 24TJ for centrifuge enrichment and 1000TJ for gas-diffusion enrichment (easy tech-tree opportunity!).

Enrichment would also be a new mechanic in that it's progressive - each enrichment stage only does a little bit, say from 0.7% ore feed to 0.9% output, so you need to chain a bunch of them to get to your target of 3-5%.

And yes, there could be an "advanced" reactor tech that unlocks something like a Fast reactor that can burn the spent fuel.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Enkal » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:45 am

raidho36 wrote:Breeder only produces less waste if you count U-238 as waste. It isn't a fission fuel, but in a breeder reactor it can be made to absorb a neutron and beta-decay into plutonium, which is a fuel, with about the same energy content as enriched uranium. However each particle of nuclear fuel that undergoes fission becomes two particles of nuclear waste. If you somehow use up 100% of nuclear fuel in a rod, you'll get a rod that's 100% nuclear waste, no matter what kind of reactor you used.

Also I think the reactor should be producing hot water rather than electricity directly.
U238 is considered waste since there are very few breeder reactors in operation (due to politics and an abundance of Uranium). It is fuel for breeders.

I think you miss one point of fission. There will be stable isotopes as by-products from fission. These are not waste and are not radioactive. From a fast breeder you would only get a small fraction of the fuel as radioactive waste, the rest will be useful elements (with some medically useful radioactive isotopes). Some mass will be lost from gaseous elements and some is lost from the conversion to energy (E = mc^2).

And do not forget Thorium as fuel.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by fod » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:11 pm

PROPOSAL OF NUCLEAR POWER PROCESS SCALED TO FACTORIO LEVEL

As far as I have read in former posts in this thread and some others, I share the idea that Factorio is not intended to clone every production process in real life, rather than showing a fun, enjoyable and simpliflied representetation of it (with much or less complexity depending on what it is about).

Having that in mind the first thing is to scale reality to Factorio level. Real life is incredible, but let's not get a headache with the multiple technologies and fuel available. Clear your heads, do not get cocky and select ONE of each. I start:

Conventional nuclear power in the world relies on a single aspect: the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. The nuclear fuel cycle determines the path followed by uranium and other viable fuels (like plutonium or thorium), from a mine to its final disposal as waste.

Image

The development of the process in the former picture, would require much effort in development and much search on information about nuclear technology. As these is not intended, and I will not enter in details about nuclear physics either, I will just make a Factorio simplification to the nuclear cycle in order to give some ideas to the dev team. (If someone wants details go to this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fuel_cycle)

The fun part and hardpart of nuclear power in Factorio would be representing a part of that process. It is really easy to put some fuel in a reactor, close the hatch and boil water in it (just the same as burning some coal and producing steam for the steam engines). So, although it is a simplification of real life, it must have a level of complexity.

THE PROCESS DRAFT
Image

The process on the image is explained further:
1) Starting with a conventional mine, we extract the ore the same way we do with copper or iron (we obtain uranium ore).
2) The ore is transfered through conventional ways (transport belt) to a chemical plant. The next is similar to obtaining sulfuric acid with sulfur, metal and water.
3) In the chemical plant, the inputs are: ore and water; the output: let's call it uranium gas (instead of UF6). The gas will be easily trasnfered through a pipeline to the next building in the process: the Enrichment plant.
4) The enrichment plant would work like and oil refinery. This would be a new building in the game. The plant would give much discussion in the forums, due to the multiple outputs it may have. For the moment, I just projected two possibilities for enrichment. The two ways are Weapons-grade Refinement and Reactor-grade Refinement. Each grade produces wether fuel for weapons like atomic bombs and nuclear missiles, or fuel just for reactors. The different grades will also consume more or less uranium gas, but I will talk about quantities later. The output from the enrichment plant would be something like: "weaponized uranium gas" or "reactor uranium gas" depending on the refinement grade.

Now we have two paths to follow: weapons-grade or reactor-grade.

Weapons-grade Refinement Path
5a) The weaponized uranium gas would be transfered to another chemical plant. Combine with water, will be oxidized again to uranium oxide (let's pick a more gamely name like weaponized uranium pellet. The item will have the form of a cilinder, like a barrel but much more tiny, or even cubic form. The colour should be something strong to indicate danger: red or orange will do.
6a) Now, atomic bombs work with uranium and plutonium in metal state, so we need to transfer the weaponized uranium pellet to a conventional Factorio furnace. We will obtain uranium metal. The uranium rods would be like steel bars and would have also a dangerous colour. Let's transfer them to an assembly factory.
7a) Now we build an atomic bomb or a nuclear missile in a Factorio assembly factory. The input should be some hard items to get like blue circuits, solid fuel, etc. And there we get a bomb or a missile to throw to our beloved aliens.

Reactor-grade Refinement Path
5b) The reactor uranium gas would be transfered to another chemical plant. Combine with water, will be oxidized again to uranium oxide (let's pick a more gamely name aswell like simply uranium pellet. The pellet will also have the form of a cilinder, like a barrel but much more tiny, or even cubic form. The colour should be something soft to indicate conventional use on power: brown or even grey should do it (these are the actual colours).
6b) Reactors work with fuel encapsulated in zirconium alloied rods joined together with other rods in what's called a Fuel Assembly with silvery bright. To simulate this in Factorio: we transfer the uranium pellets into a Factorio assembly factory with other inputs like steel bars and iron plates for instance. On the output we achieve the fuel assembly, called nuclear fuel. It can have cubic form and silvery bright for example. This will later be inserted into a power plant.
7b) The new star building of the nuclear process in factorio, the Nuclear Power Plant. Just insert the nuclear fuel in it and together with water, it will produce steam and electricity.

A BIT ON NUMBERS

- Uranium ore veins are not very common. So the quantity of fuel in the veins should be something like 3k to 4k, and the surface occupied by the vein should be little. This is just an advice.
- Chemical plant reaction: 1x Uranium ore (+ water) -> 2x Uranium gas.
- Enrichment plant:
For weapons-grade conversion: 100x Uranium gas -> 1x Weaponized uranium gas.
For reactor-grade conversion: 10x Uranium gas -> 1x Reactor uranium gas.

Weaponized path
- Chemical plant reaction: 5x Weaponized uranium gas -> 1x Weaponized uranium pellet.
- Furnace: 20x Weaponized uranium pellet -> 1x Uranium rod.
- Assembly factory: 2x Uranium rod (+ other components) -> 1x Atomic Bomb (Missile).

Reactor path
- Chemical plant reaction: 5x Reactor uranium gas -> 1x Uranium pellet.
- Assembly factory: 40x Uranium pellet (+ steel and iron) -> 1x Nuclear fuel.
- Nuclear power plant: 1x Nuclear Fuel -> 10 MW output.

With this numbers:
- To build an atomic bomb you would need to mine something like 10.000 units of ore.
- To power a reactor you would need to mine something like 1.000 units of ore.

The reactor will output something like 10 MW, which in Factorio is a huge amount of energy. The time the fuel will last in the reactor should be a lot. Like 5 or 7 Factorio days.

The Weaponized uranium pellets could also be transformed into Nuclear fuel at a reduced cost. Let's say: 4x Weaponized uranium pellets -> 1x Nuclear fuel. As it is 10 times more costly to obtain weapons-grade uranium than reactor-grade. This actually happens with the dismantle of russian and american nuclear weapons.

IDEAS FOR RADIATION

The following points are complementary to the nuclear energy and can be implemented little by little:
- Power plants do not emit radiation, unless it is a gas discharge allowed by the country's nuclear regulatory comission or during an accident event.
- Radiation should be yellow because of the radiation warning trebol or blue (actual bright). But not green please, nuclear fuel does not radiate in green, that's in the Simpsons, watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb9i-toCcwg.
- Radiation kills depending on the dose. Factorio engineers should have a geiger dosemeter. Over a limit on the dosemeter engineers should start losing life.
- Radiation should last for 7 Factorio days and if the area is occupied by a nest of aliens, aliens should mutate.
- Radiation propagates if there's an event accident in form of a plume which can be modified by climate conditions.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry for the extension but I think this could lead to a major patch in Factorio, and should be implemented precise and with detail.

Wrapping up, these are the many ideas I have to scale reality to Factorio. Please feel free all users and dev team members to critize what I posted.

If need be I will answer doubts or correct things I may have left on the way.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by JoneKone » Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:20 pm

I agree
fod wrote:[Koub] No need to quote a huge post for a 2-world "I agree"
Me be singing all away.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Align » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:38 pm

Honestly I think we should just skip fission and go straight for fusion.
  • We already have a micro-fusion reactor
  • Don't have to deal with radiation (should it damage electronics? pain in the butt)
  • Don't have to deal with waste (in a way where you can't just put it in a box and shoot it)
  • Don't need any new ores (very good for old map compatibility)
  • Infinite power (part of what makes solar so good is the lack of having to deal with fuel)
  • Not just a big boiler (well... direct energy conversion is an option at least, according to WP)
  • It's cool

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Re: Electric energy

Post by TheTom » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:05 am

Actually we should reevaluate the fusion in powered armor ;)

* I moved to play with the Nucular mod for nuclear powe - and I love it. While I can see some improovement, this is a good base. Not too simple, not too complex.

* Energy density is unrealistically low - but a low higher than bob mod best steam engines. Nice balance. The recipes are something to work on, imho.

* Fusion would be the next step. I would make fusion something that requires expensive fuel, possibly FROM The output of a nuclear fission process. Unrealistic? Yes, but who cares.... this is a game, I evaluate things from a gaming perspective.

* I would go with fusion as something NOT requireing water or at least extensive use of it (maybe a closed loop chiller taking some energy - low enough to handle it with some small solar cells and a battery for starting). Fusion CELLS use up (SLOWLY) and I would adjust the powered armor like this (use fusion micro cells as fuel).

* For same step, a fusion reactor would use fusion cells... and due to not requiring water be a possible replacement for solar farms in outposts (most of which in my current map have no easy access to water, hence steam and nuclear is not really usable... my standard outpost temlpate drops quite some solar cells to handle the needed energy.

* Obviously a Fusion Lokomotive would follow ;)

This gives Fission and Fusion separate places in the game chain and puts "no water high energy density" fusion at the end of a QUITE complex manufactoring process, particularly if one keeps the requirement of fission reactors around to generate some elements for fusion cells.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by BlakeMW » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:49 am

If Fusion becomes a thing, it'd be a good post-rocket option. You need to use a rocket to harvest Helium-3 (i.e. from a moon), then you can use the helium-3 in an aneutronic (without neutrons) fusion reaction for direct energy generation.

The Fusion Reactor would end up being extremely high tech.

Cons:
High upfront costs
High fuel costs (essentially burns rockets, although each rocket would bring back a lot of MJ of He3)
High startup power required - no blackstart capability, say requires 200MW to bootstrap a 500MW fusion reactor.
No/poor load following, reaction has to be run hot.

Pros:
Extreme Power Density
No pollution, no radioactive waste
Low complexity (few moving parts)


While Fission would have to be directly competitive with Coal and Solar, Fusion as an end-game goal wouldn't need to be fully competitive because in the end game production capability tends to be ridiculous, obviously it needs some advantages, such as extreme power density. But if say it's as expensive per MW as Solar, but occupying only 1/10000th the space, that could well be acceptable.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Hannu » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:21 am

I think that portable fusion reactor can be renamed to some kind of RTG and it could have exponentially decreasing power. Half life could be for example 3 hours so that player should change them occasionally but not too often.

I like also the idea of nuclear bombs. They should be extremely expensive to research (at least 20 x rocket launching) and to manufacture (several hundreds of thousands raw materials without productivity modules) but they should be able to clear the circle with radius of 200 units at one shot. They would be useful in megabase phase when the player has almost infinite resources and production capability and needs to clear large areas for new mines. In my opinion clearing with traditional methods is annoying and boring in that phase. It is not expensive, not difficult, not very dangerous and needs no thinking but it is just laborious to click 120 destroyers and run over bases. Maybe there could be one or two lower tiers too, but very expensive and effective and not before rocket launching capability.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Hannu » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:32 am

Enkal wrote:For gameplay terms I guess that nuclear would be just over powered. One 3x3 tile reactor would give at least 250 MW in case of a molten salt reactor (MSR), make no pollution and zero waste (considering that nothing else leaves waste in the game). The mods that use cooling towers etc are just not realistic. You might need a cooling tower for a 1 GW+ reactor but it depends on the temperature of the input water I think.
I think that we should not stick to realistic powers and energy densities. It is better to scale numbers to what game balance needs but of course keep the idea of very expensive and technically complicated but high energy density source of energy. I think that nuclear reactor should be complex to build and have large cooling towers just for aesthetics (it is sad that there is no cooling towers in real nuclear plants in my country (because they use seawater as a coolant)).

There should also be some kind of model for radioactive pollution separated from normal pollution and local evolution factor in which the local level of radioactive pollution would affect. The reactor should not emit radioactive pollution but mining and processing of uranium stuff should. Maybe there could be a place for pollution reducing modules too.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Enkal » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:58 am

Hannu wrote:I think that we should not stick to realistic powers and energy densities. It is better to scale numbers to what game balance needs but of course keep the idea of very expensive and technically complicated but high energy density source of energy. I think that nuclear reactor should be complex to build and have large cooling towers just for aesthetics (it is sad that there is no cooling towers in real nuclear plants in my country (because they use seawater as a coolant)).

There should also be some kind of model for radioactive pollution separated from normal pollution and local evolution factor in which the local level of radioactive pollution would affect. The reactor should not emit radioactive pollution but mining and processing of uranium stuff should. Maybe there could be a place for pollution reducing modules too.
But if you want to put in radioactivity as pollution you need to do the same with coal since you get more radioactive waste from coal ashes than from nuclear power plants. You would need to implement a full waste simulation instead of the general "pollution" factor we have now.

I know that public perception of nuclear is that it is more complicated, dangerous, and scary than any other power source. But I would for once like to see a more realistic representation of nuclear power in a game. Especially in a sci-fi oriented game. A futuristic nuclear power plant should be small, compact, and with a very high power output. To make nuclear worse for game balancing purposes only perpetuates the myth that nuclear is not the best power source humanity have available.

Nuclear should be the better version of solar without accumulators instead of some sort of coal analogy.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Hannu » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:01 am

Enkal wrote:But if you want to put in radioactivity as pollution you need to do the same with coal since you get more radioactive waste from coal ashes than from nuclear power plants. You would need to implement a full waste simulation instead of the general "pollution" factor we have now.
Not necessarily. Factorio could take best things from reality and something from imaginary. There is no obligation to make exact simulation of real world. Separate pollution with somewhat different properties could give an interesting addition to game without being too complex for beginners ot too fictive. Especially if nuclear power was a late game thing players have hundred hours of experience in that phase.

But I would for once like to see a more realistic representation of nuclear power in a game. Especially in a sci-fi oriented game.
Why just nuclear power should be more realistic than other things in the game? I think that it is quite unrealistic that animal species would mutate to thousand times larger in couple of days if they just smell a little bit of industrial smoke. It may be also little bit unrealistic that one man could build huge production facilities, including nuclear power plants and orbital rockets, and survive if he drops on a planet full of strong hostile aliens. I agree, that there should be strong relation to realism in Factorio, but it should not be the most important thing.
A futuristic nuclear power plant should be small, compact, and with a very high power output. To make nuclear worse for game balancing purposes only perpetuates the myth that nuclear is not the best power source humanity have available.
I agree what you said about nuclear power in real life. It should be investigated and build much more to replace more harmful (practically all other) energy sources. However, I think that purpose of computer games should be entertainment and not propaganda.
Nuclear should be the better version of solar without accumulators instead of some sort of coal analogy.
What is the exact problem with accumulators? If I choose default values I can put couple of assemblers to produce solar cells and accumulators faster than I can build energy consuming assemblers or miners. When I get construction bots I can cover huge areas with solar panels and accumulators with little work and playtime. I think that nuclear power will be relatively boring and futile addition, if it is just insanely overpowered easy, infinite and free endgame energy source without any significant drawbacks or trade offs. If there is not ideological and political resistance and high capital costs in Factorio, we could balance it for example by exaggerating pollution and dangers little bit, in my opinion. That would not need huge modifications in game idea or programming work.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:16 am

Hannu wrote:Factorio could take best things from reality and something from imaginary. There is no obligation to make exact simulation of real world... Why just nuclear power should be more realistic than other things in the game? I think that it is quite unrealistic that animal species would mutate to thousand times larger in couple of days if they just smell a little bit of industrial smoke. It may be also little bit unrealistic that one man could build huge production facilities, including nuclear power plants and orbital rockets, and survive if he drops on a planet full of strong hostile aliens. I agree, that there should be strong relation to realism in Factorio, but it should not be the most important thing.
I agree, additionally we are talking about a point in technological progress where space travel has advanced enough to visit inhabited worlds. If you went back even just 30 years and talked about the idea of a smart phone you would have been told to be realistic, what will technology be like in another thousand years?

I don't think nuclear should power steam engines... That's backwards and defeats the object of nuclear. With how little coal is used and how big the deposits are it's easier and more efficient to use it and you can get set up almost as soon as you launch the game. Besides, steam power is mainly for when the engineer has just landed and he needs to throw something simple together to make electricity.

Nuclear is end-game with tens of thousands of research vials used, when he has the time, resources and logistics to do it properly. It's not unrealistic to expect that he knows (or can research) a way to convert nuclear energy directly to electricity, or at least in fewer steps (as each conversion is subject to energy loss so the more steps the less efficient it is).
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Re: Electric energy

Post by afk2minute » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:53 am

Hannu wrote:I think that it is quite unrealistic that animal species would mutate to thousand times larger in couple of days if they just smell a little bit of industrial smoke.
Think of them as ants. Some species of ants are capable of regulating what type of ant (soldier\worker\etc) will develop from a lavrae by changing conditions (nutrition, temperature). So "worker" small biters are changed by a biter adoption to a behemot "soldiers".

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Re: Electric energy

Post by Hannu » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:44 pm

afk2minute wrote:Think of them as ants. Some species of ants are capable of regulating what type of ant (soldier\worker\etc) will develop from a lavrae by changing conditions (nutrition, temperature). So "worker" small biters are changed by a biter adoption to a behemot "soldiers".
OK. It makes much more sense.
Deadly-Bagel wrote:I don't think nuclear should power steam engines... That's backwards and defeats the object of nuclear. With how little coal is used and how big the deposits are it's easier and more efficient to use it and you can get set up almost as soon as you launch the game. Besides, steam power is mainly for when the engineer has just landed and he needs to throw something simple together to make electricity.

Nuclear is end-game with tens of thousands of research vials used, when he has the time, resources and logistics to do it properly. It's not unrealistic to expect that he knows (or can research) a way to convert nuclear energy directly to electricity, or at least in fewer steps (as each conversion is subject to energy loss so the more steps the less efficient it is).
I think that it would be overpowered and against idea of Factorio to get huge amount of electricity from single nuclear reactor. There must be complex processing chain with logistic challenges.

I suggest that there will be tiers for boilers (I think that this is suitable place for suggestion).

1. Low powered coal boiler with 100 C output.
2. High powered superheated coal boiler with 300 C output.
3. Nuclear reactor with very high power and 300 C superheated output.

And three tiers of steam engines/turbogenerators.

1. Low powered entry level wet steam engine with low efficiency. It would give maximum power at 100 C liquid.
2- High powered superheated steam engine with moderate efficiency. It would give maximum power at 300 C liquid.
3. Very high powered steam turbine with 300 C input and highest efficiency.

Every boiler and engine could be paired, however there would be possible loss of efficiency or ridiculous number of small powered units per one high powered unit. It would need only one little change to game. Efficiency should be property of engine instead of (or in addition to) property of boiler.

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Deadly-Bagel
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Re: Electric energy

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:10 pm

Why are you so hung up on steam? Been there, done that, want something different. Besides this would mess with any map generation with "Starting area only" for water frequency as you're basically cut off from your end-game power.

Nuclear will hopefully pose a tricky logistical challenge, but I don't think water should be a part of it, at least not needing a large constant flow for the reactor itself.
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Re: Electric energy

Post by Hannu » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:07 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Why are you so hung up on steam? Been there, done that, want something different. Besides this would mess with any map generation with "Starting area only" for water frequency as you're basically cut off from your end-game power.
I like water tubings and also lakes and would never choose waterless world. They make world more natural and they also force me to make railways more natural instead just straight lines. And of course lakes makes defense easier. Steam is also medium which most high powered power plants use (except some gas turbines). Others are too futuristic or fictive. Of course there could be small power radiothermal generators for example to power armors and vehicles.

Fortunately there is very natural solution to your problem, condenser. It is used in practically all real steam powerplants. Process water is highly purified and includes additives to prevent corrosion at high temrpeatures. It will be circulated in the system instead of boiling always new water. Moreover, the condenser increases thermodynamical efficiency of process significantly. There are water cooled condensers, which are practical if powerplant is near sea or large enough lake, and cooling towers which transfer heat to the ambient air. It would be relatively straighforward to implement both options to Factorio and they should be used with all but lowest tiers of steam engines. There could be a tube from turbine to condenser and a high pressure pump between condenser and reactor/high efficiency boiler.

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Re: Electric energy

Post by drqi » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:55 pm

I think it is good to be realistic when it doesn't detract from the gameplay. It makes things a lot more intuitive and is really enjoyable when it feels like you are doing something more "real".

First thing that I think should be added is a heat exchanger where you can capture warm water from the output of a steam turbine and use it partially preheat the water before going into boilers.
I think there should definitely be a version of nuclear that uses steam in the game. If I were the one implementing it into the game I think I would do it like this.

-Have a "radiation" system thats similar to pollution, it could do health damage at really high levels.
-Uranium ore should be relatively easy to come by but it should need a lot of work to refine it, convert it to an enrichable form, enrich it, then assemble it into fuel rods.
-You should also need to redo the enrichment a large number of times to make it usable in a bomb and it take a very large amount of ore to end up with a bomb.
-There should be nuclear waste that needs to be assembled into a storage container of some kind.
-You would be a short term and a long term radiation system and that handling the waste right after it comes out would kill you.
-The nuclear plant would take in water and output hot water like a boiler that uses uranium instead of coal.
-It would respond slowly to changes in energy output. You would need either accumulators or regular coal power to make up for sudden peaks like from laser turrets and it could melt down if it overheats from not get enough cooling water, although it could dump the heated water to make room for new cold water maybe.

I would also make it so that hot water slowly loses heat in pipes or storage containers, that way you can't just use a storage container instead of accumulators.

The way I see it, in factorio the way game balance works is things either cost space, materials to use, materials to set up, or effort to set up. Solar trades space and raw materials to set up for no material use over time. It also doesn't work at night. This makes it great for long term power because it has no recurring cost.
Nuclear would be similar in that once the fuel production is set up, the material use over time would be cheap. It would just trade space usage for effort and material to set it up.
If it turned out nuclear was too easy/good I would make it necessary to have two separate cooling loops where one goes though the plant and becomes slightly radioactive and needs to use a heat exchanger to heat the water that will go through the turbines.

Basically, it would be a very complicated, end game power source. In this form it might be more suitable to be a mod than in the actual game because of the complexity and number of materials and components that would be added to the game, but I personally would love to be able to build this.

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